Friday, December 23, 2016

An Un-Intended Path, 100 Roller Coasters Later

When Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard formed Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers back in 1988, designing any amusement ride was the furthest thing on their minds. Having recently departed from Giavanola, and with a non-competition agreement in place, they thought their ride days were a closed chapter, until Six Flags Great America asked them to help with the design of Rolling Thunder, the Intamin Bobsled ran in the park from 1989 through the 1995 season. After getting the proper legal hurdles removed, their first coaster, Iron Wolf opened in 1990.

They stuck with the stand-up design for their first three coasters, but then the introduced their new inverted design in 1992, Batman The Ride. Twelve of their next fifteen coasters featured the inverted design, and the remainder were a new sit-down design.

Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa was one of the first three sit down coasters.

2002 saw the introduction of the flying coaster, with the first one, Superman: Ultimate Flight stateside being installed at Six Flags Over Georgia.

The first dive coaster with a true 90-degree drop was SheiKra, with the even wider and taller Griffon to follow. They were preceded by other dive coasters that did not have a true vertical drop.

The latest coaster style from B & M to appear in the United States is the wing coaster, where riders have nothing above them, or under them, so they feel like they are riding on the wing of an airplane.

Mako, at Sea World Orlando, is the newest B & M roller coaster, and that puts them over 100 installations worldwide. Millions of riders smile every year due to the creativity of the company that never intended to build their first coaster, but we are sure glad they did.

So that was the highlights, but it is better to hear them from someone who was there from the start, here is a brief interview with Walter Bolliger reflecting on their first 100 roller coasters:

If you are interested in learning more about the construction of the track, you can find more information here, from a plant visit long ago.  Here is a list of their roller coasters as they opened:

1990                       Iron Wolf                                            Six Flags Great America
1991                       Patriot                                                 California’s Great America
1992                       Vortex                                                 Carowinds
1992                       Batman The Ride                                Six Flags Great America
1993                       Flight Deck                                         California’s Great America
1993                       Kumba                                                Busch Gardens Tampa
1994                       Batman The Ride                                Six Flags Great Adventure
1994                       Nemesis                                              Alton Towers
1994                       Batman The Ride                               Six Flags Magic Mountain
1994                       Raptor                                                Cedar Point
1994                       Diavlo                                                Himeji Central Park
1995                       Gambit                                               Thrill Valley
1995                       Batman The Ride                               Six Flags Saint Louis
1995                       Dragon Khan                                     Port Adventura
1996                       Orochi                                                Expoland
1996                       Mantis                                                Cedar Point
1996                       Montu                                                Busch Gardens Tampa
1997                       Pyrenees                                            Parque Espana
1997                       Great White                                       SeaWorld San Antonio
1997                       Alpengeist                                         Busch Gardens Williamsburg
1997                       Chang                                                Kentucky Kingdom
1997                       Batman The Ride                              Six Flags Over Georgia
1998                       Oblivion                                            Alton Towers
1998                       Riddler’s Revenge                            Six Flags Magic Mountain
1998                       Great Bear                                        Hersheypark
1999                       Afterburn                                          Carowinds
1999                       Apollo’s Chariot                               Busch Gardens Williamsburg
1999                       Medusa                                             Six Flags Great Adventure
1999                       Raging Bull                                      Six Flags Great Adventure
1999                       Georgia Scorcher                              Six Flags Over Georgia
1999                       Batman The Ride                              Six Flags Over Texas
1999                       Incredible Hulk                                 Island Of Adventure
1999                       Dragon Challenge                             Islands of Adventure
2000                       Superman Krypton Coaster              Six Flags Fiesta Texas
2000                       Medusa                                             Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
2000                       Diving Machine G5                          Janfusun Fancyworld
2000                       Katun                                                Mirabilandia
2000                       Batman Knight Flight                      Six Flags Ohio
2000                       Kraken                                             SeaWorld Orlando
2001                       Insane Speed                                    Janfusun Fancyworld
2001                       Wildfire                                            Silver Dollar City
2001                       Nitro                                                 Six Flags Great Adventure
2001                       Talon                                                Dorney Park
2002                       Galactia                                            Alton Towers
2002                       Silver Star                                        Europa Park
2002                       Batman la Fuga                                Parque Warner Madrid
2002                       Superman la Atraccion                     Parque Warner Madrid
2002                       Superman Ultimate Flight                Six Flags Over Georgia
2002                       Batman The Dark Knight                 Six Flags New England
2002                       Vampire                                            La Ronde
2003                       Nemesis Inferno                              Thorpe Park
2003                       Batman The Ride                             Six Flags New Orleans
2003                       Scream                                             Six Flags Magic Mountain
2003                       Superman Ultimate Flight               Six Flags Great Adventure
2003                       Superman Ultimate Flight               Six Flags Great America
2004                       Lightning                                         Kuwait Entertainment City
2004                       Daemonen                                       Tivoli Gardens
2004                       Silver Bullet                                    Knott’s Berry Farm
2005                       Hydra The Revenge                        Dorney Park
2005                       SheiKra                                           Busch Gardens Tampa
2006                       Goliath                                            Six Flags Over Georgia
2006                       Patriot                                             Worlds of Fun
2006                       Tatsu                                               Six Flags Magic Mountain
2006                       Goliath                                            La Ronde
2006                       Black Mamba                                 Phantasialand
2006                       Crystal Wing                                  Happy Valley
2007                       Hollywood Dream The Ride          Universal Studios Japan
2007                       Phaethon                                         Gyeongju World
2007                       Griffon                                            Busch Gardens Williamsburg
2008                       Dive Coaster                                   Chimelong Paradise
2008                       Led Zepplin The Ride                     Hard Rock Park
2008                       Goliath                                             Six Flags Fiesta Texas
2008                       Behemoth                                        Canada’s Wonderland
2009                       Diamondback                                  Kings Island
2009                       Manta                                              SeaWorld Orlando
2009                       Diving Coaster                                Happy Valley
2010                       Intimidator                                      Carowinds
2010                       Monster                                           Walygator Parc
2011                       Raptor                                              Gardaland
2011                       Krake                                               Heide Park
2011                       Starry Sky Ripper                            Joyland
2011                       Hair Raiser                                       Ocean Park
2012                       Swarm                                              Thorpe Park
2012                       Wild Eagle                                       Dollywood
2012                       Oziris                                               Parc Asterix
2012                       Leviathan                                         Canada’s Wonderland
2012                       Shambhala                                       Port Adventura
2012                       X-Flight                                           Six Flags Great America
2013                       Gatekeeper                                       Cedar Point
2013                       Nitro                                                 Adlabs Imagica
2014                       Parrott Coaster                                 Chimelong Ocean Kingdom
2014                       Flug der Damonen                           Heide Park
2014                       Banshee                                            Kings Island
2014                       Family Inverted Coaster                   Happy Valley
2015                       Oblivion The Black Hole                 Gardaland
2015                       Fury 325                                           Carowinds
2015                       Thunderbird                                      Holiday World
2015                       Baron 1898                                       Efteling
2015                       Acrobat                                             Nagashima Spa Land
2015                       Harpy                                                Xishuangbanna Theme Park
2016                       Flying Dinosaur                                Universal Studios Japan
2016                       Valravn                                              Cedar Point
2016                       Mako                                                  SeaWorld Orlando

With seven relocations, and one completely rebuilt, as designed, from the ground up, the quality of Bolliger & Mabillard designs has stood the test of time.

However you celebrate the holiday season, may you and those you love be abundantly blessed this year. Best wishes from all of us here at NewsPlusNotes, and may all your seasonal dreams come true.


Christopher said...

Hello Scott and Carol! What a great read, if you still have the picture of me and Walter, I'd love to have it! :-)

Chris B.

Justin said...

Few Things:

"Six Flags Great America asked them to help with the design of Rolling Thunder, and the Intamin Bobsled ran in the park from 1989 through the 1995 season."
Rolling Thunder was the Intamin Bobsled. I don't think you need the and part.

"After getting the proper legal hurdles removed, their first coaster, Iron Wolf opened in 1999."
It opened in 1990.

Happy Holidays